Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Guest Article: Update on the White Supremacist Threat in Ottawa-Gatineau

The following article has been provided by a supporter of Ottawa Against Fascism and is an update of the situation in the Ottawa area. The same individual wrote the article detailing the situation in Ottawa-Gatineau in May of this year:

The fascists and regular racist Islamophobes who were gravitating around the Soldiers of Odin, Proud Boys, Georges Hallak’s CCCC and a few assorted reactionary individuals slowed down with their rallies after their June 3rd one. As they prepare for their next one in a while on September 30th, rallying to the cry of Québec City’s Storm Alliance, here is an overview of their situation.

The Soldiers of Odin

As could be seen coming with the numerous splits they suffered and that culminated with the break with the Finland organization and the Québec-Rest of Canada split, while keeping the same name and logo, the local Soldiers of Odin also declined significantly. At the June 3rd rally, they had their lowest number ever with three members – not counting the handful that came from elsewhere in Ontario.

Their leader Éric Clouter, citing personal reasons, left the game, and another member also quit if we are to believe an anonymous message left to a previous entry to this blog:

There is a discrepancy in that comment, because Marrazzo was seen at the May 6 rally wearing a S.O.O. patch, but maybe this is an honest mistake:

It appears Mike Meunier has stepped up to keep the organization going, although there haven’t been many signs of their activity for a while:

It also seems that most former members went on to join the Northern Guard, previously covered on this blog following a Vice article featuring two local members, Éric Brazeau and Brian Wallingford. They pledged to join the mobilization on September 30th, filling essentially the same role as Soldiers of Odin. Stéphane Vaillancourt, whose disturbing racist comments glorifying the killing of Muslims were brought up in an article in May, also seems to have tagged along.

Proud Boys

Brandon Vaughan mocking an Indian burial site was taken a few days after the Proud Boy disruption in Halifax
while returning to Ontario after attending Worldwide Coalition Against Islam rally in Calgary.
The Proud Boys are still at the core of anti-Muslim organizing in the city, having been cited by Nick Gallant as among the main organizers for the Sept 30th rally in Ottawa. Some of their members participated in the Toronto rally in support of their Halifax buddies who were temporarily discharged from the army for promoting colonial genocidal policies; ; some were also spotted at various progressive rallies, trying to either disrupt them or gather intelligence:

Jason Moore drunkenly trying to disrupt an animal rights picket
Brandon Wallingford taking pictures at a Prisoners Justice rally
As you can see from the exchange that follows, Brandon Wallingford (no known connection to Brian Wallingford, mentioned earlier) didn’t take too kindly to being outed; what’s funny is that in his defense of his actions, he reveals the PBs aren’t a democratic organization, and that he is totally fine with it.

Around the time of the events in Charlottesville, the PBs founder Gavin McInnis had the sense to start distancing himself from the “Alt-right”, the loose coalition of groups adhering to white supremacy while attempting to draw bridges with the mainstream conservative movement:

The widespread rejection of the alt-right was threatening his whole enterprise, and so the PBs began to try to distance themselves from a movement they had totally been immersed in:

In Ottawa, they tried to do this by showing up late to an anti-racist rally that took place shortly after the Charlottesville incident, with signs and slogans proclaiming that they stood against Nazis and racism. The crowd had none of it however, and they were shouted down and left in embarrassment.

“The Order”

Other than those groups, another small informal group led by Steven Myatt and Georges Massaad has taken on more leadership online, attempting to unite anti-Muslim right-wingers from across the country. In late August, they posted a weird video where they announced they would form with their friend Jonathan de Champlain a new group, which they only name at the end of the video: “The Order”:

Is this a reference to the US neo-nazi group, which infamously popularized in white supremacist circles the “14 words” slogan? It’s not certain, but given Massaad’s own neo-nazi affinities and Myatt’s tendency to refer to himself and his followers as fascists, it wouldn’t be surprising.

Bachir Gemayel, an extremist Lebanese Christian responsible for ethnic massacres of Palestinians in Lebanon. This shows Massaad, and quite possibly Georges Hallak from the CCCC also, may be associated with the Phalange Christian extremists who moved out of Lebanon in the midst of the civil war and are trying to instill anti-Muslim sentiment here as part of their political agenda. 
Another Islamophobe who has come to our attention is Danno Saunt, who showed up to take pictures at the anti-racism rally in August as well. He likes to go around downtown Ottawa to take pictures and videos, and also run his mouth about Muslims and black people:

We must give credit to Brandon Wallingford for setting the record straight about the Muslim cemetery question in Québec on this post here, and also for being honest about their true intentions with that snake and dove comment:

Tom Forsythe also deserves a mention in here, because he likes to film left-wing protestors and amalgamate them into a nebulous criminal group. For example, he filmed the counter-protesters to the March for Life on May 11 this year and referred to them as “Antifa run amok” in the streets, and he also tried to provoke fights with counter-protestors at a Jordan Peterson event in Ottawa. It’s no surprise that he joined up with the Islamophobes in their rallies, although he hasn’t been seen since being confronted by anti-fascists at a rally he was trying to film from a distance.

UPDATE: The writer sent the following correction regarding the last paragraph.

It's actually inaccurate that Tom Forsythe wasn't seen since being confronted at an anti-fascist rally. He hasn't shown up to another anti-fascist rally since, but he did show up to film people at Reoccupation, the anti-colonial Indigenous ceremony set up on Parliament around Canada Day. He was confronted there too and came out pretty bitter, as you can see. I would suggest using these two photos to accompany that paragraph.

No comments: